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Remote Site Control
Find the fit for the functionality you need with a plethora of choices
The remote control manufacturer with the most history in our industry has to be Burk. (Moseley and TFT no longer make remote controls, and Gentner's remote control line was picked up by Burk.) Specifically, let's take a look at the ARC-16 Plus. A stand-alone, 2RU unit, it connects via Ethernet to a Plus-X Integrated Input Unit for 16 dedicated status inputs and another 16 status/or metering channels (which occupies 1RU). Add a Plus-X Integrated Command Relay unit (also 1RU) for 16 relays. Control access is available via HTTP, while SMTP or SMS can be used for outgoing alarms.
An optional Enhanced Speech Interface is available for remote dial-up control and alarms. The unit has a front-panel vacuum-fluorescent display and jog-wheel and front-panel LCD command buttons with text. The optional PlusConnect directly connects to various transmitters via serial or Ethernet and provides SNMP support.
The ARC Plus is backward compatible with legacy ARC-16 units. Optional AutoPilot 2010 software provides control functionality via PCs running XP, Vista or Windows 7, and allows control of legacy ARC-16 units and the Gentner GSC3000 and VRC2500. Optional Jet-Active flowcharts act as an extension of AutoPilot 2010. They allow user to configure flowcharts that tell the ARC Plus how to respond to different conditions.
Probably the most unique aspect of the ARC Plus (for the purposes of this article) is the fact that it has front-panel controls, which none of the aforementioned remote controls do.
In some cases, a facility's remote control application might be fairly simple, and as such any of the four remote controls already discussed would qualify as overkill. Perhaps you just need a more economical alternative; perhaps you need a backup remote control (always nice to have); or perhaps you need remote control for translator or booster site. Fortunately there are many good options available.
As an example, Broadcast Tools offers the Site Sentinel 16. It's a 1 RU device with 16 channels, each with 12-bit, 0-10Vdc sample, and optically isolated status inputs. There are 33 SPDT relays, programmable as latched or momentary, and a stereo silence sensor. The plug-in Euro-block screw terminals provide access to relays, status inputs and the silence sensor. There are four temperature-probe inputs and a programmable macro sequencer (up to 100 events). HTTP access permits Web browser access, and SMTP support can notify up to eight destinations for email alerts. It also supports SNMP, and keeps time via NTP or a battery-backed clock/calendar. The Site-Sentinel 16 doesn't have POTS access, only IP access.
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